Children and youth mental health services: building capacity by educating nurses




Mellett, Sarah

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Approximately one in seven children and adolescents in British Columbia experience a serious mental health problem impairing development and functioning. Most of these vulnerable children do not have access to quality mental health services largely due to inadequate academic and practice-based preparation of mental health professionals and ineffective services related to underfunding. Nurses work in a variety of settings serving individuals under nineteen years old with mental health problems thus building capacity of nurses in this specialized area of practice has the potential to improve the quality of mental health services for this population. In this paper, I present a comprehensive, evidence-informed, culturally sensitive course which if implemented with psychiatric baccalaureate nursing students, has the potential to build capacity in this area of practice and improve the quality of care. The course was developed using the Neuman Systems Model and Leininger’s Theory of Culture Care Diversity and Universality. The literature review and content selection was completed using clinical consultations, textbook analysis, consideration of supplementary material, and review of teaching and learning methods. The course has been implemented with early evaluations indicating that the course has contributed to changes in nursing practice, education and research.



mental health services, children, youth, educating nurses, adolescents, impaired development